Officials Call Alleged Dog Abductions 'False Alarm'

By Forrest Saunders, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Some viral Facebook posts have local dog owners worried their pets could be stolen. But, are they real or just rumor?

The posts surfaced a few weeks ago, and since then have been shared by animal lovers hundreds of times. The posts claim at least three dogs have been taken from yards in the northeastern side of Cedar Rapids, and Marion. They suggest an older blue truck with no license plates is involved.

"I am worried. It scares me to death as a dog owner who considers my dogs to be my kids," said Michelle Ann, who lives in Marion.

Ann has joined many others, warning people about the alleged abductions. She manages a Facebook page dedicated to finding lost pets in Cedar Rapids. Ann said missing dog reports have spiked on her page recently and she wondered if that's because dogs are being taken.

"If seems like an awful lot of them to just be running away all of a sudden, getting off their leashes like they are," Ann said.

But, officials from both Marion and Cedar Rapids police departments said they haven't had reports of any stolen animals, recently.

"As far as I know it's been at least a couple years," said Sgt. Philip Fort, with the Marion Police Department.

Diane Webber, Cedar Rapids Animal Care & Control manager, said the dog abduction posts don't look to be a major cause for concern.

"Since we have not received any reports of stolen pets, my guess is it's a false alarm," Webber said.

Webber warned this can happen when people repost things on Facebook without checking the authenticity first.

"It just becomes blown out of proportion and it goes viral, you know how the internet works," Webber said.

Even if the abduction posts are pure rumor, dog owners like Ann said they won't be taking chances.

"We're keeping our dogs inside, other than when they have to go out. When they are out, someone is with them at all times," said Ann.
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